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Schlumberger Earnings Falter Amid Oil Crash, Cuts More Jobs

The world’s largest oilfield services provider Schlumberger Ltd. SLB reported disappointing first-quarter 2016 results. The challenging market conditions (especially in North America, which has been the hardest hit during this downturn) – both in terms of pricing and activity – led to the underperformance.

Schlumberger – which closed the previously announced acquisition of oil drilling equipment maker Cameron International Corp. on Apr 1 – reported adjusted earnings per share of 40 cents, a penny below the Zacks Consensus Estimate and way off the year-ago quarter earnings of $1.06. 

Quarterly revenues of $6,520 million were down 36% from first-quarter 2015 and also lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6,788 million.

Schlumberger’s underperformance now puts the spotlight on other services majors like Halliburton Co. HAL, Baker Hughes Inc. BHI and Weatherford International plc WFT. All of them are scheduled to report shortly.

Cuts More Jobs

Schlumberger said that it cut another 2,000 jobs during the first quarter, bringing the total layoffs to about 36,000 since the 2014 crude price collapse.

Segmental Performance

All groups – Reservoir Characterization, Drilling and Group – registered year-over-year fall in sales and income.

Reservoir Characterization: This group posted revenue of $1,747 million, down 34% from the prior-year quarter, while pretax operating income more than halved year over year to $331 million. Pretax operating margin came in at 19.0% as against 25.3% a year ago. These declines were due to project cancellations and fall in exploration spending that largely impacted wireline business.

Drilling Group: Revenue for the drilling unit was down 36% to $2,493 million from year-earlier level of $3,922 million. Pretax operating income plunged 52% year over year to $371 million and margins declined 490 basis points to 14.9%. This was primarily due to pricing pressure, sharp activity declines and seasonal slowdown.

Production Group: Revenue of $2,348 million decreased 37% year over year, with pretax operating income of $208 million coming 62% lower. Margins were 8.9%, down 260 basis points. The segment bore the brunt of further decline in land activity and continued pricing pressure in North America.

Financial Condition

As of Mar 31, 2016, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company had approximately $14.4 billion in cash and short-term investments and $17.2 billion in long-term debt, representing a debt-to-capitalization ratio of approximately 33%. In the reported quarter, Schlumberger repurchased 7.1 million shares of its common stock at an average price of $67.34 per share for a total purchase price of $475 million.

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WEATHERFORD INT (WFT): Free Stock Analysis Report
BAKER-HUGHES (BHI): Free Stock Analysis Report
SCHLUMBERGER LT (SLB): Free Stock Analysis Report
HALLIBURTON CO (HAL): Free Stock Analysis Report
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